Henry James, Jr.

October 14, 2022

CHARLOTTE – Henry James, Jr. passed away on Friday, October 14, 2022.  He was born on August 5, 1930, in Portland, OR, but spent most of his youth in Westchester County, NY.  Henry was the son and only child of the late Henry James, Sr. and Ethel Mae Staff James.

As a tenth grader at Harrison High School in Harrison, NY, Henry was awarded a music scholarship for his trumpet skills by the Choate School, in Wallingford, CT.  He graduated from Choate in 1948 and headed off to Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where he majored in philosophy and graduated in 1952. Soon after graduation, Henry was drafted into the United States Army. Upon completion of his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, he was sent to the “Punch Bowl” in the front lines in Korea where he proudly served his country with the 24th Infantry Battalion, 40th Division.  Just over a year into his time in Korea, Henry and his best friend were returning from a “recon patrol” in the Punch Bowl when his friend stepped on a trip mine, killing his friend instantly and sending shrapnel into Henry’s back.  During treatment by medics, Henry was offered a Purple Heart, but he declined, saying his friend was the only one that deserved that honor.  Henry eventually became a Sargent First Class and his company’s Communications Chief after the Armistice was signed.

Soon after he returned to the states in 1954, he entered the Law School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he met the love of his life, Sally Demarest Hagood, on a blind date. Theirs was a story of devotion to one another palpable to everyone who knew them. They were married the following June and enjoyed sixty-seven wonderful years of marriage in Sally’s hometown of Charlotte.

Henry began his law career with what is now the Parker Poe law firm before founding his own firm in 1959 with his close friend, W. Pinckney Herbert, Jr.  Their firm would ultimately become James, McElroy & Diehl.

One of the most enjoyable and memorable accomplishments of his legal career was the creation, together with their dear friends, Elizabeth and Eddie Clarkson, of the beloved bird sanctuary, Wing Haven.  Henry was instrumental in convincing the IRS that Wing Haven Foundation should qualify as a public charitable institution.  He believed keeping the Clarksons’ dream alive was a far more important and noble task than to leave his own footprints in the sands of time, and he treasured his service as the permanent Trustee of the Foundation.

In the early 1980’s, Henry became Of Counsel to his law firm and enjoyed the next two decades as Vice President and General Counsel at the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte.  After retirement, Henry and Sally took great pleasure in traveling to five continents and about forty countries.

Although he was a thirteenth generation Quaker, Henry became an Episcopalian and during his first fifteen years in Charlotte was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church.

Affectionately known as “Papa,” he had a sharp mind and an amazing sense of humor.  He loved a good story or joke, and he had a gift for telling both, often with great flourish and embellishment.  Most of all, though, he loved his family.  He was immensely proud of his three beautiful daughters and their children and grandchildren, and he loved his front row seat to all of their lives.  We all learned so much from watching and listening to Papa, as he lived out his core values and imparted his wisdom and guidance.

Henry is survived by his loving wife, Sally; his three daughters, Adele James Glascock and her husband, Jimmy, Susan Parkin James and her husband, Steve Weintz and Sally James Lucas and her husband, Joe; nine grandchildren, Cullom Hagood Boyd and his wife, Kiersten, Henry Llewellyn Boyd, Mary Pollack Boyd Smith and her husband, Rob, Adele Dunbar Boyd, Sally Blue Burgis, Parkin McKee Burgis and his wife, Immie, Josiah Charles Trent Lucas, Jr. and his wife, Lindsey, Haines Demarest Lucas and his wife, Sally and Claire Tourne Lucas.  Also surviving are his four great-grandchildren. 

The family will hold a private service at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Henry to Wing Haven Foundation, 260 Ridgewood Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28209 or at www.winghavengardens.org.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

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  • Roy Brooks

    R.I.P. Mr. James,

    Thank you for your friendship. So honored that our paths crossed.

    Roy Brooks

  • cathy penson

    Having spent many hours back in the '80's volunteering at Winghaven, I remember so well the dedicated people involved in its development. Subsequent to a diagnosis of MS, a second marriage and a move to Lake Wylie, my husband and I established a garden for the handicapped, called Cathy's Garden. The edges of short, wide paths were planted with as many varieties of bushes, flowers and vegetables as could be afforded over the last 25 years. Various groups and individuals have visited or held meetings here. The attempt to carry on the mission of Winghaven has always been the goal. Henry James' obituary prompted me to write and offer my condolences.
    Cathy Penson